Crossing Borders - 2015

International Rotary Fellowship at a "Double Triangular" Rotary Meeting - six clubs (Basildon, Billericay - UK; Alba, Ovada - Italy; Beausoleil - France) met in Sweden hosted by Karlshamn Rotary Club

Tack så Mycket Karlshamn

Our party of 20 - Malcolm and Sue Acors, Chandra and Maya Gupta, Peter and Wendy Greene, Ed and Margaret Harrison, Mike and Liz Sinclair, James and Debbie Ilesley, Keith and Gillian Wood, Patrick and Carol Rothon, Roger and Sarah Kettle, and Peter and Jeanne Robbins met up at Gatwick in the early hours of Thursday morning.  After an almost uneventful passage through security and passport control, and a speedy breakfast, we were on our way.

Bengt Norman, well known to us all from his visit to the UK exchange, and from last year’s visit to Beausoleil, was in charge of all the arrangements for the visit and met us, as expected, at Copenhagen Airport, Denmark.  There was time for a quick snack before the 2 1/4 hour train journey to Karlshamn, on the southern coast of Sweden. Arrangements were faultless, we were met at Karlshamn station at the appointed time, and conveyed by Karlshamn Rotary Club members in their own cars to the “First Hotel” in the centre of Karlshamn, where we were all speedily checked in.

With four hours free time, most of the party opted for a walk around the town, taking routes down “Queen Street” for the shopping and the local tourist spots, while others took the riverside route.  What a surprise - both ended up at the same riverside bistro for a few drinks and crisps. Then it was back to the hotel for a quick freshen up before all five visiting clubs - Alba (Italy), Basildon (UK), Beausoleil (France), Billericay (UK), Ovada (Italy) - assembled in a hotel conference room for a welcome and a review of the Program, before retiring to the restaurant for a light meal (or “not such a light meal” as Bengt remarked!), laid on by our hosts.
.... and so to bed.

Salmon fishing in Mörrum (not Yemen!)
An early start on Friday for the local public bus to Mörrum, site of the salmon fishing facility 6 miles away.  Once there, we split into two groups, one toured the museum to learn about the site - there had been fishing here since 1231 AD.  The other group crossed the river to see net-fishing and live salmon in the fish tanks.  We all met up for a coffee and a cake before retracing the other group's steps.  Verdict - an informative and interesting visit.
Back at Karlshamn and we were all guests of the Rotary Club of Karlshamn at their weekly Friday lunch time meeting.  A welcome from President Mrs Maivor Johnsson, and responses from the Presidents of all the visiting clubs, and an exchange of Rotary club pennants and gifts.  Finally, a delicious buffet lunch at the Gourmet Restaurant Grön and a few hours of free time to wander round the town and view the sights, .... and somehow back at that same bistro!

Heard the one about the Englishman, the Italian and the Swede?

That evening, it was “Home Hosting” by our Karlshamn fellow Rotarians as we were all split into multi-national groups to be entertained and fed in a true Karlshamn home.  Fellowship, hospitality, great food, great conversation (sometimes with the aid of a iPhone Translation “App”).  Brilliant evenings.
And so to bed!


A 45 minute coach ride to the marine museum at Karlskrona, to the east of Karlshamn.  Again we were split into two groups, each with a Guide, to make the numbers manageable, while some opted for a self-service tour using the “App” in English, downloadable from the Museum website. A fascinating insight into Swedish naval development plus exhibits from the cold war era, complete with a simulation experience (which some of us tried) to pilot a warship out of harbour under gale conditions!
After local Swedish dishes from the buffet in the Museum restaurant, we had time for a tour of the submarine shed featuring Sweden’s first submarine, the Hajen, dating from 1904, and the cold war era Neptun (which we were able to board) dwarfing the older Hajen. “Awesome!” as our American friends would say.
A Gala Celebration
A short walk in the rain from the hotel to the restaurant, to be greeted by a crowded bar, and an elegantly laid out dining area complete with white table cloths, candelabras, and a really buzzing atmosphere. Our Swedish hosts produced a table plan mixing English, Swedish, French and Italians and ensuring we had new table companions.  After a short introduction and welcome from Bengt, we were all seated, drinks orders were taken and a short welcome address by Karlshamn President Maivor set us up nicely for our meal.
Pretty soon conversation was flowing across the national divides, and we were all enjoying the fellowship and the good food and drink.

What else?  Time for presentation of gifts from the visiting club Presidents to our hosts, and short speeches of appreciation for such a well-run and not over stressful Program.

Final event of the evening - each club led the group in a typical song from their country, in which everybody joined in gustily.  The culmination, a choir from the Karlshamn club treating us, ... and what a treat, to a beautiful local song.

And then home
Sunday was the last day, and just time for a presentation on a renowned Swedish children’s composer native to Karlshamn, and a talk by a resurrected Lars Olsson Smith, famed Karlshamn industrialist and inventor of “Absolut” Vodka.  Then train and plane and car home!
What a trip!

And that wasn't all - Christmas CardA christmas Card from our hosts Bengt and Kersten in Karlshamn to the whole club:

"Dear Rotary friends,

Hoping you all are fine and that you in the far south enjoy your "summer" weather.  In Sweden, we have an unusual warmth for the season, but the darkness is not unusal - and there is no snow to enlighten us!"

And the visit featured in a major way in the latest News Bulletin from Ovada.  Please click on the image to see the whole News bulleting as a PDF.

We had greetings from Alba and from Beausoleil for the New Year, Click anywhere on the comment from Beausoleil to see the YouTube video of their year:

On Friday, 1 January 2016, 20:07, Paolo Saredi (BREBANCA) <> wrote:

 My best wishes For a wonderful 2016 to all of you.

Tanti auguri ! President of Rotary club of Alba

Paolo Saredi

On Friday, 1 January 2016, 19:58, MOUNIER Marie-dominique

Dear Rotariens,

Best New Year 2016,

Best from,

Marie-Dominique MOUNIER

 Présidente du Rotary de Beausoleil,

 Année 2015-2016

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